Illustrator Doug Hansen’s ‘Bookends’ exhibition opens at Conley Gallery

Bookends, an exhibition by illustrator Doug Hansen

“Bookends,” an exhibition by Professor Doug Hansen, captures an art career that began 45 years ago when he was a student at Fresno State. In between then and now, Hansen also illustrated the pages of The Fresno Bee and several books.

The Department of Art and Design at Fresno State will present Hansen’s works in an exhibition that will run from Jan. 25 through Feb. 22.

Hansen will deliver an artist’s talk at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Fresno State’s Conley Art Lecture Hall (Conley Art 1010). The presentation will be followed by a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Phebe Conley Gallery. Both events are free and open to the public.

Hansen’s career as an illustrator began when he was a student in the Art Department at Fresno State in the early ’70s. His cartoons and comics for the Daily Collegian campus newspaper earned attention and recognition for Hansen and helped launch his career.

After working for over two decades as a newsroom artist at The Fresno Bee, Hansen returned to Fresno State and the Department of Art and Design in 2001, this time as full-time faculty and eventually a professor of illustration.

During his 15-year tenure, Hansen illustrated six books, three of them his own children’s books. Hansen titled his exhibition “Bookends” for the way Fresno State and the Department of Art and Design have provided the bookends for his illustration career.

Hansen said the exhibition includes works “from comic books to children’s books and everything in between.” Hansen self-published three comic books including “Frezno Funnies” and contributed to dozens more “underground comix,” what today might be called “indie” or “alternative” titles. Many of the examples of this early work that will be on display have never been exhibited before.

Hansen’s illustrations from his years at the Fresno Bee are rendered in a multitude of media and include pen-and-ink drawings from his “Fresno Sketchbook” series. Today’s consumers of news will be reminded of the memorable part illustrations played at the paper during the 1980s and ’90s. These artworks are also being exhibited for the first time.

Hansen’s watercolor illustrations for David “Mas” Masumoto’s books “Letters to the Valley” and “Heirlooms” are included in the show as well as pieces from all three of Hansen’s children’s books: “Mother Goose in California,” “Aesop in California” and “California, the Magic Island.” Originals illustrating Karen Moore’s “Pen the Tale, Oogie” are the most recent works included.

Illustration can be described as “art put to work,” says Hansen. He hopes viewers will gain an appreciation and understanding of the illustrator’s craft by seeing how the works on display demonstrate his creative and technical process and by seeing how memorably words and images can work together.

Hansen was born in Fresno and is the eldest of six children in an artistic family. Hansen collaborated with his mother, Janice, and brothers Craig and Keith to create the river mural installed at the Woodward Park Regional Library. Hansen received both his BA and MA in Art from Fresno State. He was awarded the graduate Dean’s Medal in 2001 and is a professor emeritus in the Graphic Design area in the Department of Art and Design.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information contact gallery technician Chris Lopez at To obtain a parking pass for the lecture and reception on Jan. 25, enter parking code 262829 at a parking kiosk.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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